NEW YORK, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has apologized for trying to joke about the Irish and their supposed drinking habits, saying he didn't mean to offend anyone.
In off-the-cuff remarks at the American Irish Historical Society earlier this week, Bloomberg said he saw "totally inebriated" people at the society's headquarters on St. Patrick's Day when he was growing up, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.
"It was ill-advised to make a statement like that," John Dunleavy, chairman of the St. Patrick's Day Parade committee, told the Daily News. "The remarks are highly, highly offensive to any Irish person. I don't think he would say a joke like that to any other ethnic group."
At first, Bloomberg said he was talking about the society's annual party on St. Patrick's Day, "where it's traditional to hang out the window and yell and scream, and it's all in good fun."
He later apologized, saying in a statement, "I apologize. I certainly did not mean to offend anybody."
The organization -- along with the parade grand marshal, best-selling mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark -- was marking the debut of the book, "Celebrating 250 Years of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade."